III. The Merits and Menace of MercantilismMerits of mercantilism: The Navigation Laws were hated, but until 1763, they were notreally enforced much, resulting in widespread smuggling. This lack ofenforcement is called ?salutary neglect.? In fact, John Hancock amassed a fortune through smuggling. Tobacco planters, though they couldn?t ship it to anywhere except Britain, still had a monopoly within the British market. Americans had unusual opportunities for self-government. Americans also had the mightiest army in the world in Britain, and didn?t have to pay for it. After independence, the U.S. had to pay for a tiny army and navy. Basically, the Americans had it made: even repressive lawsweren?t enforced much, and the average American benefited muchmore than the average Englishman. The mistakes that occurred didn?t occur out of malice, at least until the revolution. Also, France and Spain embraced mercantilism, and enforced it heavily. Menace of mercantilism: After Britain began to enforce mercantilism in 1763, the fuse for the American Revolution was lit. Disadvantages of mercantilism included: Americans couldn?t buy, sell, ship, or manufacture under their most favorable conditions. The South, which produced crops that weren?t grown in England, was preferred over the North. Virginia, which grew just tobacco, was at the mercy of the Britishbuyers, who often paid very poorly and were responsible for puttingmany planters into debt. Many colonists felt that Britain was just milking her colonies for all they were worth. Theodore Roosevelt later said, ?Revolution broke out becauseEngland failed to recognize an emerging nation when it saw one.? IV. The Stamp Tax Uproar After the Seven Years? War (French & Indian War), Britainhad huge debt, and though it fairly had no intention of making theAmericans pay off all of it for Britain, it did feel that Americansshould pay off one-third of the cost, since Redcoats had been used forthe protection of the Americans. Prime Minister George Grenville, an honest andable financier but not noted for tact, ordered that the Navigation Lawsbe enforced, arousing resentment of settlers. He also secured the Sugar Act of 1764, whichincreased duty on foreign sugar imported from the West Indies; afternumerous protests from spoiled Americans, the duties were reduced. The Quartering Act of 1765 required certain colonies to provide food and quarters for British troops. In 1765, he also imposed a stamp tax to raise money for the new military force. The Stamp Act mandated the use of stamped paper or the affixing of stamps, certifying payment of tax. Stamps were required on bills of sale for about 50 trade items as well as on certain types of commercial and legal documents. Both the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act provided for offenders to betried in the admiralty courts, where defenders were guilty until proveninnocent. Grenville felt that these taxes were fair, as he was simply askingthe colonists to pay their share of the deal; plus, Englishmen paid amuch heavier stamp tax. Americans felt that they were unfairly taxed for an unnecessaryarmy (hadn?t the French army and Pontiac?s warriors beendefeated?), and they lashed out violently, especially against the stamptax. Americans formed the battle cry, ?No taxation without representation!? Americans were angered, mostly, to the principle of the matter at hand. Americans denied the right of Parliament to tax Americans, since no Americans were seated in Parliament. Grenville replied that these statements were absurd, and pushed the idea of ?virtual representation,? in which every Parliament member represented all British subjects (so Americans were represented). Americans rejected ?virtual representation? as hogwash.
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